I have been on a vegetarian diet most of my life. My family is fine with it and I've never had much trouble. It hasn't been a problem until I got into a relationship with a non-vegetarian.
We usually make dinner together but it tends to be separate meals because we like such opposite things.
I try to find meals that we can cook together and he can add the meat later, but I am running out of ideas. He also hates tofu so I have to be extra creative. Any suggestions to help make life a little easier? - M. B.
Dear M. B.
I've attached the Veg-Non-Veg Report - I wrote it just for you! :-)
There are many dishes that you could make as a base for both meat and veg options. One thing you could do is to cook up big batches of soups and stews, adding meat to half, and beans to half, then freeze in individual portions. You can do the same with small containers of beans, so you have something ready to throw in the pot when it's time to take out your share.
There are also lots of Savvy Veg recipes, which lend themselves to double duty, like spicy tofu rice pilaf. Or tofu pasta & veggies. The tofu is added last in both dishes, and anything can be substituted for the tofu. Ethnic cooking is very adaptable, as in stir fries. Get some cookbooks, and explore.
Something else I'd like to suggest is that you make dishes that you both like, that are coincidentally, vegetarian. E.G. White Bean Italian Style Soup, or a big green salad, or a grain dish, with quinoa or rice. Then serve yourself some baked tofu, or some curried beans while your boyfriend has his meat, chicken or whatever on the side. That minimizes the extra cooking.
Anyone can enjoy vegetarian meals, even if they aren't on a vegetarian diet. In much of the world, where meat isn't plentiful and cheap, people will have a few vegetarian meals every week, even once a day, or most of the time.
If your boyfriend can accept this idea, that it isn't necessary to eat meat several times daily, and in fact is better not to do so, it would make your life easier, and his healthier. E.G., the above mentioned salad, with options like walnuts, sunflower seeds, feta cheese, chickpeas, chopped hard boiled egg, seitan, etc.
In most veg-non-veg relationships, it's usually the vegetarian who gives up and gives in, and starts eating meat, for the sake of harmony and ease. It is possible for veg and nonveg to co-exist, but it always seems to be one partner who does most of the adjusting and giving. If your relationship is to be permanent, please consider couples counseling to learn how to create long term food satisfaction for both of you.
Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian